The Florida House of Representatives has voted 72-42 to ban dismemberment abortion, or D&E. HB 1429 had wide support, with even some Democrats voting in favor of the ban. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach).
Planned Parenthood, unsurprisingly, is opposing the bill. Missy Wesolowski from Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood said on WUSF:
We believe that it would interfere with the doctor’s ability to provide the safest care that they believe is for their patients. And with the language in the bill being kind of vague, a doctor would be unsure how to safely and legally provide a woman an abortion in the second trimester.
WUSF reports that “[a]ffiliates of Planned Parenthood believe the bill has no medical basis and puts women’s health at risk,” with a representative calling the bill “put[ting] politics over health care.” The idea of putting women’s health “at risk” by banning a procedure that dismembers not the woman, but the living human being residing within the uterus, is rather stunning. The text of the bill defines the legislation:
“Dismemberment abortion” means an abortion in which a person, with the purpose of causing the death of a fetus, dismembers the living fetus and extracts the fetus one piece at a time from the uterus through the use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or a similar instrument that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slices, crushes, or grasps, or performs any combination of those actions on, a piece of the fetus’ body to cut or rip the piece from the body. The term does not include an abortion that uses suction to dismember the body of a fetus by sucking pieces of the fetus into a collection container.
Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino describes the D&E (or dismemberment abortion) in the video below:
Three pro-abortion groups, Planned Parenthood, Whole Woman’s Health, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, sued the state over the law. They claim requiring a baby’s death before the dilation and extraction procedure heaps undue burdens on women and abortionists.
But during last week’s trial in federal district court, state attorneys emphasized the law’s “more humane” requirement.
“The state has legitimate interest … in protecting the health of a woman and life of a fetus that may become a child,” said state lawyer Darren McCarty. “[The law] regulates the moment of death, the moment of fetal termination, and nothing more. Whether … the lethal act is going to be, for instance, grabbing the leg and pulling it off the fetus, or whether instead the lethal act is going to be a single injection or perhaps just a snip of the umbilical cord.”
US News reports that “House Democrats opposed the bill because they said it would present more obstacles to women seeking legal abortions.” However, since the law does not ban abortion or even second trimester abortion, it is unclear how it would make abortion more of an obstacle. US News reports that 5,192 (7.4 percent) of Florida abortions occur during the second trimester.
The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Grall, explains that the bill is not about outlawing abortion or even making it harder to get an abortion; rather, it is about preventing an even more inhumane procedure:
This is a middle. This bill acknowledges that a woman is having an abortion. It says let us remind ourselves of our humanity. And make sure that we do not tear a child a part in the womb just because they cannot articulate their pain.
The bill has yet to be heard by the Senate, and thus far, does not seem likely to pass that chamber. Grall and the 71 others who have voted for this hope that will change quickly, before the session closes next week.